The Collegian
Sunday, December 05, 2021

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Through the Lens: An Introduction

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.

Welcome to my new column, "Through the Lens," a space in which I will examine the motivations and social issues that manifest themselves through film. The column will run biweekly on Tuesdays, and each piece will provide a cultural analysis and review of one film. I am starting this column because film enthralls me, and I find myself impassioned every time I sit down to write about it. I am fascinated with how films uniquely tackle social issues, with varying degrees of success and artfulness. 

“Through the Lens” will feature a variety of films and analyze how these films are expressions of cultural forces. I think film consistently provides viewers with an avenue for reflection, as we can both examine film to examine ourselves and vice versa.

Films make up much of the fabric of our lives. Nothing lingers in one’s mind quite like a film does. A film’s threads become even more complicated as they meld with our experiences in contrasting or complementing ways. If we take a moment to look closely, we can pull this fabric and see how it stretches. We can see the stitching that makes up the material and how it either holds true or frays and unravels. 

In other words, we can assess where the film wears thin -- where it fails to nail the true scope of a character or an issue. We can critique or praise. Sometimes both.

I am hoping that this column will serve as a moment for readers to pause and make way for curiosity. Sometimes a pause is just what we need, especially during this age of unremitting overstimulation. Humans have never had such immediate access to media with the plethora of streaming services available and the never ending releases of new shows and movies. 

This availability can be both amazing and overwhelming. We marathon, and we binge. We yo-yo somewhere between comfort-watching and hate-watching, and I do not wish to invalidate any of these ways of viewing; I would just like to create an avenue that allows readers to engage more deeply with films and their intersections with life and society.

I want to hold space for all those times you’ve watched something and thought, “Wow,” or “That doesn’t quite sit well with me.”

My main objective for “Through the Lens” is to look closer at the details of a film in order to see the bigger picture and context. I hope this column will allow the reader to zoom in for greater detail, and in turn, zoom out to understand the film’s larger framework. 

If we take this opportunity to look through the lens of attentiveness, our moment of pause has the potential to transform our very way of seeing film. 

Contact columnist Shannon McCammon at shannon.mccammon@richmond.edu.

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